Beyond the Brownings–Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Oliver_Wendell_Holmes exhibit© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of the Fireside Poets, was an influential American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. He, along with his friends, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell Lowell, made important contributions to the literary world of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the study of law, Holmes switched to poetry, and later to medicine. Later in his life, Holmes returned to the literary field, contributing to Atlantic Monthly, writing essays, and novels.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns six letters, one manuscript, and over eighty books authored by Holmes.

Holmes-Chambered-Nautilaus2webOliver Wendell Holmes. From “The Chambered Nautilus”.  21 February 1874.  In the Whittier Autograph Album.

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

This album, once the property of Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of John Greenleaf Whittier, contains letters, autographs, and inscriptions from Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Julia Ward Howe, J.T. Fields, Phoebe Cary, U.S. Grant, Emily Faithfull, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry W. Longfellow, Daniel Webster, William Cullen Bryant, P.T. Barnum, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others, and includes an inscription by George MacDonald  and an autograph by Louisa MacDonald.

Holmes-to-Sir-1webHolmes-to-Sir-2webHolmes-to-Sir-3webLetter from Oliver Wendell Holmes to an Unidentified Correspondent. 08 February 1879.

 In this letter, Holmes thanks an unidentified Scottish critic for a positive review of his book, John Lathrop Motley. A Memoir (1879).

I have felt very sensitive about this Memoir, which was in some respects the most difficult and delicate task I had ever undertaken. It has gratified me very much to find that it was kindly received by the family of Mr. Motley, and the friends whose opinion I especially cared for.

 

Holmes-RWE-1webHolmes-RWE-2webHolmes-RWE-3webHolmes-RWE-4webOliver Wendell Holmes. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1885.

 

This rare edition contains an inscription by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Rev. Octavius B. Frothingham/with the kind regards of/Oliver Wendell Holmes/Dec. 10th 1884.”

Holmes-Guardian-Angel-1webHolmes-Guardian-Angel-2webOliver Wendell Holmes. The Guardian Angel. Riverside ed. Boston, New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1895.

In 1867 The Guardian Angel, a novel which explores mental health and repressed memory began appearing serially in the Atlantic Monthly. It was published in book form in November of that same year. This book is volume seven of thirteen volumes of Holmes’ writings published as a Riverside Edition in 1895.

Holmes-Poems-1Holmes-Poems-2-1webHolmes-Poems-2-3webHolmes-Poems-2-4webHolmes-Poems-2-5webOliver Wendell Holmes. Poems. Boston: Otis, Broaders, and Company, 1836.

This volume is a first edition and comes from the library of Holmes’ friend, fellow author, and host during some of his English visits, Frederick Locker. The book bears Locker’s Rowfant bookplate, and some notes in text.

Beyond the Brownings–John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Whittier ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the Fireside Poets, was a Quaker poet and an abolitionist. He was influenced by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Whittier is most remembered for his poem “Snow-Bound.”

The Armstrong Browning Library owns eighteen Whittier letters, two manuscripts, and over eighty books authored by Whittier.

Whittier-to-Smith-1webWhittier-to-Smith-2webWhittier-to-Smith-3webWhittier-to-Smith-4webLetter from John Greenleaf Whittier to Mary E. Smith. 2 March 1833.

In this letter to his dear friend Mary E. Smith, Whittier quotes his poem “Lines on a Portrait” and “To ___,” a poem by his sister, Elizabeth H. Whittier.

Whittier-Memory-and-Hope-5webWhittier-Literary-Recreations-2webJohn Greenleaf Whittier. Literary Recreations and Miscellanies. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.

This volume is a first edition presentation copy from the publisher.

Whittier-Memory-and-Hope-1webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-2webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-3webWhittier-Memory-and-Hope-4web[John Greenleaf Whittier, et al]. Memory and Hope. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1851.

This volume, a book of poems referring to childhood, also includes poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, James Russell Lowell, Maria Lowell, Mary Howitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Lydia Maria Child, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, John Quincy Adams, William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, and others.

 

Beyond the Brownings–Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Dickens ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Charles Dickens, who enjoyed unprecedented fame during his lifetime, is considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. He confronted social issues through such memorable works as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns twelve letters written by Charles Dickens and over 240 books, some of which are rare editions. Although Dickens corresponded with the Brownings, the ABL does not own any of their letters. However, there are three Dickens books inscribed by Robert Browning in the collection, as well as Dickens’ copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s verse-novel Aurora Leigh.

Dickens,-10-Jan-1848-1webDickens,-10-Jan-1848-2web Letter from Charles Dickens to William Gregory. 10 January 1848.

In this previously unpublished letter, Dickens expresses his pleasure in meeting Mr. Gregory and promises to renew their acquaintance again soon. William Gregory was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and an enthusiast for phrenology and mesmerism. Dickens also confesses to writer’s block at the end of the letter.

I am perfectly stupified with a bad cold, and a blank quire of paper intended for the manuscript of Dombey No 17. is staring very hard in my miffed face.

Dickens-to-Locker-1webDickens-to-Locker-2webDickens-to-Locker-3webLetter from Charles Dickens to Frederick Locker. 13 June 1869.

In this letter Dickens explains that he has been traveling with some American friends and asks Locker to give his regards to Tennyson.

I have been for the last ten days perpetually journeying and sightseeing with some friends from America…. If this should reach you while Tennyson is [by] you, pray give him my love and tell him I am heartily sorry to have missed your kindly offered opportunity of meeting him….

Dickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carolcover-webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-2webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-3webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-4webDickens-Manuscripts-of-Christmas-Carol-5webCharles Dickens. The Christmas Carol: A Facsimile Reproduction of the Author’s Original Ms. London: Elliot Stock, 1890.

This large volume contains facsimiles of the original manuscripts of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. A first edition, it is one of only fifty copies and the first facsimile done of this work.

Dickens-Little-Dorrit-1webDickens-Little-Dorrit-2webDickens-Little-Dorrit-3webDickens-Little-Dorrit-4webCharles Dickens. Little Dorrit. London: Chapman and Hall, 1863.

This volume was in the Brownings’ library and bears the inscription: “To dearest Pen on his birthday, March 9 ‘64. RB. 19 Warwick Crescent.”

Dickens-A-Christmas-Carol-1webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-2webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-3webDickens-A-Christmas-Carol-4Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol in Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Edition sanctioned by the author. Leipzig: Bernh. Tauchnitz Jun, 1843.

This volume is an extremely rare first Continental edition.  The Armstrong Browning Library also owns the first  British edition of this classic, published in London in 1843 by Chapman and Hall, as well as the four additional “Christmas books” published by Dickens in subsequent years.

Beyond the Brownings–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Tennyson ABL-1exhibitCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), poet laureate during most of Queen Victoria’s reign, has continued to be one of the most popular British poets. He is well known for his short lyrics such as “Break, Break, Break,” ”The Charge of the Light Brigade,” ”Tears, Idle Tears,” and ”Crossing the Bar.” In Memoriam A. H. H. was written to commemorate the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who was engaged to Tennyson’s sister, Emily. Idylls of the King, a cycle of twelve narrative blank verse poems, retells the Arthurian legend.

Tennyson corresponded with Robert Browning, and the Armstrong Browning Library owns four letters written by Tennyson to Browning. The Library also owns thirty-six letters written by Tennyson to various other Victorian correspondents, and three manuscripts. Over 160 books related to Tennyson are owned by the ABL, many of them rare editions. Two of the books were owned by members of the Brownings’ family. The collection also contains a voice recording of Tennyson.

Tennyson-to-UnkownwebLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to an Unidentified Correspondent. Undated.

In this previously unpublished letter, Tennyson thanks this unidentified correspondent for their “able & conscientious translation” of his poems. By the end of Tennyson’s life, his poems had been translated into Italian, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Latin, Spanish, Hungarian, Swedish, Czech, Ancient and Modern Greek, Norwegian, Polish, and Serbian.

Tennyson-to-Patmore-1webLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Mrs. [Coventry] Patmore. [12 August 1852].

Tennyson says that he knows Mrs. Patmore’s…

kind womanly heart will rejoice in hearing that it is all safely over. She had a very easy confinement & was delivered of what the nurse calls a fine boy yesterday.

This passage refers to the birth of Hallam Tennyson on 11 August 1852, Tennyson’s eldest son.

Coventry and Emily Augusta Patmore named their second son Tennyson and asked the Tennysons to be his godparents. In the letter, Tennyson writes that Emily, his  wife, is anxious that young Tennyson Patmore have his engraved cup for his birthday.

Tennyson-to-M-1webLetter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson  to Edward Moxon. 7 November [1852].

In this previously unpublished letter to his publisher, Tennyson accepts Moxon’s offer to publish his ode and requests that it “not be published until very close to the funeral.” Tennyson is likely referring to his “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington,” which was published on November 16, two days before Wellington’s funeral.

Tennyson-To-the-Queen-1webTennyson-To-the-Queen-2webTennyson-To-the-Queen-3webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. [“To the Queen”]. Autograph  Manuscript. Undated.

This is an early autograph draft, substantially longer than the version published in Poems (1851). “To the Queen” was Tennyson’s first publication as Poet Laureate. The poem was published in 1873 as the epilogue to The Idylls of the King.

Tennyson-Idylls-of-the-King-1webTennyson-Idylls-of-the-King-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Idylls of the King. London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1859.

This copy is signed by Julia Margaret Cameron, famous photographer and friend of Tennyson. Cameron and Tennyson were neighbors on the Isle of Wight. Cameron produced her own copy of Idylls of the King, which included photographs of staged scenes from the poems and a photograph of Tennyson.

Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Worksweb-1Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Worksweb-2Tennyson-Selections-from-the-Works-3webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. A Selection from the Works of Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon, 1865.

This volume is a first edition inscribed by Tennyson on the half-title to his favorite sister: “Emily Jesse from her affectionate brother A.T.” The book is also inscribed with the ownership signature of Emily’s son Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt Jesse. On his bookplate inside the front cover he has written: “This book was given to my dear Mother Emily née Tennyson by her Brother, Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate.”

Tennyson-Ballads-1webTennyson-Ballads-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Ballads and Other Poems. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1880.

This volume from the Brownings’ library is inscribed by Robert Browning on the front free endpaper: “Robert Browning/ from Alfred Tennyson./Dec. ’80.”

Tennyson-The-Death-of-Oenone-1webTennyson-The-Death-of-Oenone-2webAlfred, Lord Tennyson. The Death of Oenone, Akbar’s Dream, and Other Poems. London and New York: Macmillan and Co., 1892.

The book is inscribed by Hallam Tennyson, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s oldest son: “Oct. 1892 to S.A.E. FitzGerald.”

Tennyson-Prolusions-1webTennyson-Prolusions-2webTennyson-Prolusions-3webTennyson-Prolusions-pages-89webTennyson-Prolusions-4webTennyson-Prolusions-5webUniversity of Cambridge. Prolusiones Academicae Praemiis Annuis Dignatae et in Curia Cantabrigiensi Recitatae Comitiis Maximis, A.D. MDCCCXXIX.  Cantabrigiae: typis academicis excudit J. Smith, [1829].

This volume contains Tennyson’s first publication, “Timbuctoo,” a poem which received the Chancellor’s medal at the Cambridge commencement, 1829. The poem is a reworking of one Tennyson wrote at age fifteen called “Armageddon.”


Beyond the Brownings–Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Arnold at ABLexhibitCourtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Matthew Arnold, a poet and cultural critic, was employed as Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools. He is best remembered for his critical essays, Essays in Criticism (1865) and Culture and Anarchy (1869), and his poems, particularly “Lines From the Grand Chartreuse” and “Dover Beach.”

The Armstrong Browning Library has a large collection of Matthew Arnold materials, which includes fifty-seven letters and over 130 books, many rare editions. Arnold was a friend and correspondent of Robert Browning.

Arnold-June-10-1webArnold-June-10-2webLetter from Matthew Arnold to Frank Preston Stearns. 10 June 1886.

This unpublished letter outlines Arnold’s travel plans in America.

 … tomorrow I go to Washington, & shall be going from there to Buffalo, Niagara and Canada.

Arnold-July-9web

Letter from Matthew Arnold to Lady Portsmouth. 9 July [1851].

This letter to Lady Portsmouth, daughter of the Third Earl of Carnarvon, who resided at Highclere Castle, accompanied Arnold’s gift to her children.

I remember you told me last year that some of your children liked “The Forsaken Merman.” I give myself the pleasure of sending you, for their benefit, what I think is rather a pretty volume, just published, containing that poem with others of mine.

 The Strayed Reveler, a collection of Arnold’s poems, was the volume that contained “The Forsaken Merman”:

Forsaken-Merman-6web

Forsaken-Merman-7web

Forsaken-Merman-8Forsaken-Merman-1webForsaken-Merman-2webForsaken-Merman-3webForsaken-Merman-4webForsaken-Merman-5webArnold, Matthew. The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems. London: B. Fellowes, 1849.

This is a very rare book. Virtually the entire edition was withdrawn and destroyed. This book was a gift from James Payn, an editor and novelist in the nineteenth century, to L. S. Hammond.

Arnold-January-9,-1868web Letter from Matthew Arnold to James Holden. 9 January 1868.

Arnold belittles his own recently published volume of poems.

 It is not worth while expending your envelope on such a trifling piece of information as that I published about five months ago, with Messrs Macmillan, a volume of Poems bearing the title of New Poems.

Arnold-to-Cox-3web

Arnold-to-Cox-2web

Arnold, Matthew. New Poems. London: Macmillan and Co, 1867.

This volume, to which Arnold refers in the accompanying letter, is a first edition from the library of Charles Kingsley. Tipped into the volume is a letter from Matthew Arnold to Keningale Cook, 26 March 1886. In the letter Arnold discusses his upcoming trip to America and his subsequent inability to review Dr. Cook’s book.

Arnold-to-Cox-1web Letter from Matthew Arnold to Keningale Cook. 26 March 1886.

…. I have been abroad to make some enquiries for the Government about schools, and have only just had your letter on my return. I am so busy with my report, and a projected visit to America that there is no chance of my being able to review your book…

Beyond the Brownings–William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Thackerary ABL 2Courtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Makepeace Thackeray is most remembered for his satiric novel Vanity Fair (1847-48). He also became editor of the very successful Cornhill magazine in 1860. Although during the nineteenth century Thackeray’s popularity ranked second only to Dickens, today he is much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds thirteen letters written by Thackeray and over sixty books authored by Thackeray, some rare or copies of editions the Brownings had in their library.

The letters and books below give a glimpse into Thackeray’s work as an editor for Cornhill and his relationship with Frederick Locker-Lampson. Additionally, the ABL has thirty-two Victorian letters in which Frederick Locker-Lampson is a correspondent and twelve books authored by Locker-Lampson, including two, with Locker’s signature, which were in the Brownings’ Library. There are also ten Locker-Lampson letters in the Browning Collection.

Thackeray-Locker-London-Lyrics-1Thackeray-Locker-London-Lyrics-2Frederick Locker-Lampson. London Lyrics. New ed., enl. and finally revised. London: Henry S. King & Co, 1876.

Locker quotes Thackeray’s opinion of his poetry in the Notes to the 1904 edition of his poetry collection, London Lyrics.

 …Thackeray believed in me, and used to say, ‘Nevermind, Locker—our verse may be small beer, but at least it’s the right tap.’

  Thackeray-to-Locker-1Thackeray-to-Locker-2Thackeray-to-Locker-3Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. 22  January 1861.

Thackeray regrets that he was not able to be present to support Locker-Lampson on the previous Saturday due to “spasm fits.” The embossed crest of the stationery is for the Garrick Club. The letter may regard Locker-Lampson’s rejection from the Garrick Club.

I hope you bear your of Saturday equanimously. I ought to have been here to prevent it for you were only b—k  b—ll—d [black balled] because there was nobody there to speak for you and there should have been such a friend.

Thackerary-FebThackerary-Feb2

Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. 11 February 1861.

Thackeray asks Locker-Lampson to change the last line of his poem, “My Neighbor’s Rose,” from “And god go with her” to “And joy go with her,” claiming that:

 The name of Allah jars rather in the pleasant little composition, and I never like using it if it can be turned or avoided.

Thackeray-Locker-poem-1Thackeray-Locker-poem-2Letter from William Makepeace Thackeray to Frederick Locker. No date.

This letter contains the first stanza of Locker’s poem, “A Human Skull,” with Thackeray’s correction. The poem was Locker’s first contribution to Cornhill, published December 1860. The letter on the verso reads:

My dear L.

that isn’t a good verse—I have mislaid proof 1. –will you recorrect please—and what do you think of the 4 lines on t’other side.

 

Beyond the Brownings–W. E. (William Ewart) Gladstone (1809-1898)

NPG D8335; William Ewart Gladstone by William Holl Jr, after a photograph by  John Jabez Edwin Mayall© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Ewart Gladstone’s career lasted over sixty years. He served as Prime Minister four separate times, more than any other person; and he also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. As Britain’s oldest Prime Minister, Gladstone resigned for the final time when he was eighty-four years old.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds seven Gladstone letters and eight of his books, one of which was in the Brownings’ library.

Gladstone-to-Browning-1Gladstone-to-Browning-2Gladstone-to-Browning-3Gladstone-to-Browning-4Letter from William Ewart Gladstone to Robert Browning. 12 August 1872.

Even on this murderous day, having received your letter, I engage to examine again whether we can recognize in a practical shape Mr Horne’s claim as a true one. The names are overwhelming: but of course it must not at once be assumed that they are all equally strong in original knowledge. I trust to your kindly remembering my breakfasts at ten on Tuesdays after Easter holidays.

This letters raises a number of questions. Why was it a murderous day? Does the mourning paper hold a clue? What are Mr. Horne’s claims? Why are the names overwhelming? What is the original knowledge in which they are not all equally strong? Did Browning attend Gladstone’s teas? Who forwarded the letter to Browning in Paris?

Gladstone-Homer-1Gladstone-Homer-2W. E. Gladstone, Homer. London: Macmillan, 1878.

Gladstone and Robert Browning were both consumed with reading and studying Homer’s poetry. This is Browning’s copy of Gladstone’s publication on Homer. Browning’s signature is on the title page.

Beyond the Brownings–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Longfellow-photos-ABL-1webCourtesy of  the Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet and educator, may be best remembered for his poems, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. However, he was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. have been identified as the Fireside Poets. The Fireside Poets wrote poetry that rivaled their English counterparts. Their poetry generally adhered to standard forms, conventional meter, and regular rhymes, making it suitable for memorization and recitation at school and home, particularly around the fireside. The Armstrong Browning Library has five letters and over ninety books by Longfellow. Several of the books are rare editions.

Longfellow-to-Unknown-1Longfellow-to-Unknown-2Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to [Unknown].8 March 1875.

In this letter to an unknown correspondent, Longfellow mentions his source for “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-1Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-2Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-3Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-4Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-5Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-6Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-7Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Tales of a Wayside Inn. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863.

First published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, “Paul Revere’s Ride” was later reprinted in this volume.

Paul-Revere's-Ride-3Longfellow,-Wayside-Inn-1Paul-Revere's-Ride-2Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” The Atlantic Monthly,  January 1861.

“Paul Revere’s Ride” was first published in this journal.

Longfellow,-Poetical-Works-1Longfellow,-Poetical-Works-2Longfellow,-Poetical-Works-3Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Poetical Works of Henry W. Longfellow. Complete edition. London: Knight and Son, Clerkenwell Close, 1854.

This volume was part of the Brownings’ library and bears the inscription, “Frederic Browning/with Sarah’s love/October 31st 1854.”

Longfellow,-Divine-Comedy-1Longfellow,-Divine-Comedy-2Longfellow,-Divine-Comedy-3Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

This is a first edition of this important translation. Longfellow was the first American to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy. He spent several years working on the translation and continued to revise the translation even after its publication. To help him in perfecting the translation and editing the proofs, Longfellow invited friends to meet with him weekly beginning in 1864. The “Dante Club” continued to meet until the translation was published in 1867.

Displayed with: Rossetti,-Shadow-of-Dante-1Longfellow,-Divine-Comedy-2Rossetti,-Shadow-of-Dante-3Rossetti,-Dante2Maria Francesca Rossetti. A Shadow of Dante, Being an Essay Towards Studying Himself, His World and His Pilgrimage. London, Oxford, and Cambridge: Rivingtons, 1871.

The Rossetti’s older sister used the translation of her brother, William Michael, for quotations from the Inferno and Longfellow’s translation for quotations from Purgatorio and Paradiso.

The Armstrong Browning Library also holds this lovely photograph of Longfellow’s three youngest children: Alice, Allegra, and Edith.

Longfellow's-children-ABL-1Longfellow's-children-ABL-2This photograph was taken shortly before 1861 when their mother, Frances, was killed, her dress having caught fire in an accident. Longfellow was injured in the fire trying to save her. His facial scars led him to grow his characteristic beard. He was also emotionally scarred from the accident, mourning for her the last twenty-one years of his life. He wrote these lines eighteen years after the accident.

Such is the cross I wear upon my breast

     These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes

     And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Cross of Snow,” 1879.

Beyond the Brownings–Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Ralph Waldo Emerson ABLCourtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the middle of the nineteenth century. He is most known for his essays on Nature and Self-Reliance. Emerson was also a mentor and friend of fellow Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.

 The Armstrong Browning Library owns three letters written by Emerson. Ninety Emerson books, some rare editions or editions inscribed by Emerson himself, also belong to the library’s holdings. Emerson’s Poems (1884), owned by Robert Browning, is part of the Browning Collection at the ABL. The volume belonged to Robert Browning and contains his signature on the second fly-leaf.

Emerson-Poems-1Emerson-Poems-3Emerson-Poems-4

Ralph Waldo Emerson. Poems. New and rev. ed. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co, 1884.

Emerson-to-Quincy-1webEmerson-to-Quincy-2Emerson-to-Quincy-3Letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edmund Quincy, Esq. 2 December [1864].

Emerson invites Edmund Quincy, a famous abolitionist, and his friends Mr. and Mrs. Langel to visit.

We will give you a little dinner at 1,’oc & show you meadows & ponds.

 Emerson's-EssayswebRalph Waldo Emerson. Essays. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1841.

This volume is inscribed by Emerson, “Lucy C. Brown, with the grateful regards of R.W.E. 1848.”

Emerson's-Harvard-Address Ralph Waldo Emerson. An Address Delivered Before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge, Sunday Evening, 15 July, 1838. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1838.

Emerson’s address outraged the Protestant community by discounting the miracles of the Bible and questioning the deity of Christ. He was not invited to speak at Harvard for thirty years. This volume bears the inscription on the cover: “/with the affectionate regards of/R.W.E.” Dewey was an American Unitarian minister.

Beyond the Brownings–William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

William Cullen Bryant ABL 2

Courtesy of The Armstrong Browning Library

By Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Cullen Bryant, who was an American poet, journalist, and editor of the New York Evening Post, is best known for his poems “Thanatopsis” and “To a Waterfowl.”

Although he is mentioned in several of the Brownings’ letters, we have no record that he was a correspondent of the Brownings. The Brownings entertained Bryant at Casa Guidi in June 1858 and Bryant stayed in a hotel next door to the Brownings on a trip to Paris in July 1858.

The Armstrong Browning Library owns one letter from Bryant to Fanny Kemble and an autograph note in the Whittier Autograph Album. The ABL collection includes ten books, one of which, The Complete Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant (1854), is a copy of the book that was given to Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Anna Ticknor.

Bryant,-Complete-Poetical-Works-1William Cullen Bryant. The Complete Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant. London: Knight and Son, 1854.

Anna Ticknor was an American author and educator who founded the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, which was the first correspondence school in the United States.

RB-to-Perkins-1RB-to-Perkins-2

RB-to-Perkins-3In a letter from July of 1858, Browning thanks his friend, Charles Perkins, art critic, author, organizer of cultural activities, for the music they enjoyed in Florence. He also describes their trip by boat from Florence to France.

… the ship was overcrowded from Leghorn to Genoa and my wife passed the night on the bare deck and a shawl or two rather than try the stifling berths below—thence to Marseilles  was a rougher business—but we rested a night got to Lyons next evening, Dijon the following midday and Paris on Tuesday night.

 He continues the letter, noting that in Paris William Cullen Bryant is his next door neighbor.

Mr Bryant happens to lodge in the Hôtel next door—which is pleasant to know–

RB-to-Perkins-4composite Browning also discusses future plans which include a proposed trip to Egypt, which never occurred.

… we shall certainly set our faces Southward in less than three months, and, I suppose, find you at Florence,—at least provisionally. For us, if we don’t go to Egypt, we shall winter at Rome—or so we say at present.

RB-to-Perkins-5Letter from Robert Browning to Charles Perkins.
11 July 1858.

Bryant-to-Fanny-Kemble-1Bryant-to-Fanny-Kemble-2

Letter from William Cullen Bryant to Miss Fanny Kemble [Mrs. Pierce Mease Butler]. 28 February 1857.

Bryant makes arrangements for Miss Kemble to give her readings in New York in April. He looks forward to her coming, commenting that

 …there have been few entertainments of the kind this winter—none certainly that could take off its edge.